As of right now, there are only a few airlines that venture out to French Polynesia, and you'll find that getting there isn't quite as easy as you might think. Another thing you'll want to understand is that the airlines that travel to French Polynesia all fly into Tahiti first, before departing to the other nearby islands. Thankfully so, Moorea is practically in the shadow of Tahiti so you actually have a few transportation options, unlike most of the rest in this large island group, where a flight is the only practical way of getting there.

On that note, there's a good chance that you're heading to one of the finest resorts in the South Pacific, as the Moorea overwater bungalow hotels are all world-class properties that are famous in their own right. There are actually more overwater bungalows off of Bora Bora, but those do take a bit longer to venture to. Because of this, many honeymooning couples like to book their first few nights in Moorea and then fly from there to Bora Bora or one of the other South Pacific islands.

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Getting to Moorea Island

When you’re planning a trip to Moorea, the first thing you’ll want to do is to figure out how to get to Tahiti. This is because Tahiti is the leg of the trip that’s right before Moorea. The short version is that you’ll most likely be flying to Tahiti from Los Angeles, CA. This will be the case even if you are starting all the way over in Europe. But once you arrange your flight over to Tahiti, what’s the next step? Well, part of that depends on your exact schedule. If you are going to stay on Tahiti itself, perhaps in one of the overwater bungalow resorts on Tahiti, then you’ll want to take the local ferry, which leaves right out of the main marina in the capital city of Pape’ete.


With that said, if you are going straight to your resort on Moorea then you’ll find that your best bet is to fly directly there from the Tahiti Airport. If you are tempted to spend a few hours touring around Tahiti itself and then taking the ferry to Moorea, we’d say that it’s not really worth your time. Moorea itself is actually more beautiful of an island, and Pape’ete is a bit grimy and not all that interesting anyway. If you’re already staying on the island, then we could see visiting, as you are already there.

Flights to Moorea

Because you’ll most likely fly from Los Angeles to Tahiti, you’re likely to fly Air Tahiti Nui, which is the long-haul national carrier for French Polynesia. Once you’ve arrived on Tahiti, you’ll change to a smaller prop plane on Air Tahiti. Even though the names are very similar, they are two separate airlines. You can usually buy both tickets from an online travel agency, but you are going to want to look at the schedule closely to make sure you have enough time to change planes between the two flights.


Air Tahiti schedule


Four flights a day most of the year with the first flight leaving Tahiti at 7:15am and last flight leaving at 17:15 (5:15pm). Around the December holidays there can be 5 flights on some days and 3 flights other days.


What you’ll find when booking, is that most flights from Los Angeles arrive late in the evening. This means that many visitors will have a layover that’s around 8 hours long before their flight in the morning. Most people opt for a hotel room for the night so that they’re well rested and ready to go the next morning. However, it needs to be noted that there are no budget hotels in the area, making a single half night of sleep on the expensive side.


The flights only take roughly 15 minutes, and you can buy tickets right on the spot most times, when tend to cost around US$100 round-trip for adults and even less for children. If the plane doesn’t work you can always take a taxi a short distance into Pape’ete, and then take a ferry from there.

Ferries to Moorea

When looking into the area’s local ferries, you’ll note that there are two companies running ferries between Tahiti and Moorea, with journey times that range from around 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the weather. Some of the ferries carry vehicles (mostly Moorea locals who’ve come to shop), while others only carry passengers. These ferries tend to cost about US$15 per person (each way) making them a lot cheaper than the flights. Also, you’ll want to note that there is a great comfort level on these series compared to what can be found with an airplane.


Unfortunately, ferries here don’t operate in the dark, so if your Tahiti flight lands after about 16:00 then you’ll be spending the night on the island. Because of this, you’ll want to really make sure you keep this in mind when booking flight tickets onto the island.


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